Terry Halleran, Exceptional Educator Inducted 2020
Terry Halleran is an exceptional educator. He served as a high school agriculture instructor and FFA advisor at Buffalo High School for 27 years. He is the latest inductee into the Dallas County School District Hall of Fame. He began his educational career in 1981 in the Pleasant Hope School District teaching agriculture five years before beginning his tenure of 27 years in the Dallas County School District.
His passion of agriculture began in Columbia, Illinois, where he grew up just across the river from St. Louis in a farming community. He enjoyed fishing and hunting and learned about farming from four of his five uncles, who were his mother’s brothers. His interests in high school were in the hands-on subjects. He worked for the family doctor as a stable boy for two years. After high school, he planned to work on the Alaskan pipeline but his father opposed it, so he would pursue a post-secondary education. He studied swine husbandry at Southeast Missouri State University and worked on the university farm for four years, milking his way through college as the top hand and earned his Bachelor’s Degree. He later worked on a swine farm as swine herdsman running 365 sows in confinement, farrow to finish. He realized he was barely getting by while working for the other guy, so he went to talk to his college advisor who inquired if he would be interested in teaching agriculture. He had never previously considered teaching. The advisor assisted him in enrolling in the University of Missouri in Columbia to obtain his teaching degree. Terry earned his Master’s Degree in Agriculture Education and later completed all but the dissertation of his Doctorate in Agriculture Education.
When Mr. Halleran began teaching in the Dallas County School District, he had 50 students and taught the agriculture program at “votech,” now known as the Dallas County Technical Center. The program was later moved to the high school campus and added a second agriculture teacher, as the enrollment went from 50 students to 200 students. The program then expanded to include a middle school program and a school farm. The school farm was an opportunity for students have a place to raise some livestock of their own and for students to gain hands-on experience caring for livestock.
While teaching in the Dallas County School District, Terry Halleran’s greatest accomplishment was his students. His major goal in education was to teach real life issues and provide students with skills they could use in life at the meat counter, raising a garden, or driving a nail and to provide opportunities that were non-traditional such as a coon hunt or float trip. He wanted students to be able to apply what they had learned and to enjoy life and support their families. Students were successful in his classes which included hands-on activities and something different they could get involved in. His greatest joy was watching kids smile when they realized they “got it” or successfully achieved a goal. The way he judged his own success was how well his students matched up to students from other schools at state and national competitions. Mr. Halleran had five national champions which included Matt Stokes, Forage Proficiency; Vicki Smith, Public Speaking; a National Agronomy Champion Team including Blaine Leer, Matt Brown, Megan Wright, and Casey Rash; Matt Brown’s first high individual in that National Agronomy competition; and the National Pasture and Range Champion Team of Matt Brown, Paul Black, Jamie Rainwater, and Lacey Winchester. He had a team in the National Dairy Cattle Judging finals five times achieving fourth place, once. His students achieved many, many more district and state honors.
After retiring from teaching agriculture at Buffalo High School, he continued teaching agriculture at Crowder College for two years before moving into his current job as the University of Missouri Hickory County Extension Agronomy Specialist, teaching about forage and timber management and conducting grazing schools. He does custom combining of fescue seed and custom hay hauling. He has also been an adjunct professor for Missouri State University, Ozarks Technical College, University of Missouri and Crowder College.
Terry Halleran plans “go to the farm” and fully retire in three more years. He will leave the world of technology and fish with his grandkids, as well as spend time with his dog and cows. Terry’s wife, Rhonda, retired in May after 26 years in healthcare. She currently takes care of the grandkids and Terry. They very much enjoy their seven grandchildren and live on a small farm in Strafford. Terry’s and Rhonda’s children include Dottie Pind,Missouri bootheal; Amanda Foster, Marshfield; and Sean Jackson, Fair Grove. All are Buffalo High School graduates.
Mr. Halleran’s exceptional career as an educator positively impacted so many students, helping to shape them into the adults they are today. He is a fine example of service and dedication to his students and the community.
The Dallas County Schools Board of Education established the Dallas County Schools Hall of Fame to recognize outstanding alumni, former staff, or exceptional supporters of the Dallas County School District. Nominations for the Hall of Fame can be submitted to the Superintendent of Schools at any time, however, the formal application process begins in January of each year with the formal induction ceremony held each May. The official Hall of Fame is located in the lobby of the Shewmaker Center. The Hall of Fame is coordinated by the central office administrators. To choose inductees, a selection committee, consisting of representatives of local civic organizations, meets in the month of February, reviews the nominations, and votes to determine the inductees. The Hall of Fame presentations can be found on our bisonpride.org website.